The Well-Tempered Ear

The Pro Arte Quartet plays the fourth installment of its FREE Beethoven string quartet cycle online TONIGHT at 7:30 CDT

October 23, 2020
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By Jacob Stockinger

The historic Pro Arte Quartet, in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music, will perform the fourth installment of its FREE Beethoven string quartet cycle TONIGHT — Friday, Oct. 23 — at 7:30 p.m. CDT. (It should be posted for about a day, but will not be archived due to copyright considerations.)

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the live concert will take place online and will be live-streamed without an audience from the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall in the new Hamel Music Center.

You can stream it live from https://youtu.be/IhmNRNiI3RM

The whole series of concerts are part of the Pro Arte Quartet’s yearlong retrospective to celebrate the Beethoven Year. This December marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the composer (below).

Members of the Pro Arte Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer) are: David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violins; Sally Chisholm, viola; and Parry Karp, cello.

A pre-concert lecture by UW-Madison musicology Professor Charles Dill (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) starts at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

The program consists of one early and one late quartet: the string Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18 No. 4 (1798-1800), and you can hear the first movement played by the Dover Quartet in the YouTube video at the bottom; and the String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 127 (1825).

The Pro Arte Quartet is one of the world’s most distinguished string quartets. Founded by conservatory students in Brussels in 1912, it became one of the most celebrated ensembles in Europe in the first half of the 20th century and was named Court Quartet to the Queen of Belgium.

Its world reputation blossomed in 1919 when the quartet (below, in 1928) began the first of many tours that enticed notable composers such as Bartok, Barber, Milhaud, Honegger, Martin and Casella to write new works for the ensemble.

The Pro Arte Quartet performs throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia and continues to champion both standard repertoire and new music.

Since being stranded in the U.S. when Belgium was invaded by Hitler and the Nazis in World War II, the group is an ensemble-in-residence at the Mead Witter School of Music and resident quartet of the Chazen Museum of Art.

The quartet, the longest active string quartet in the history of music, has performed at the White House and, during the centennial celebration, played for the King’s Counselor in Belgium.

Recent projects include the complete quartets of Bartok and Shostakovich and, in collaboration with the Orion and Emerson String Quartets, the complete quartets of Beethoven.

Regular chamber music collaborators that perform with Pro Arte include Samuel Rhodes and Nobuko Imai, viola; Bonnie Hampton, cello; and the late Leon Fleischer and Christopher Taylor, piano. 

Together since 1995, the quartet has recorded works of Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Rhodes, Shapey, Sessions, Fennelly, Diesendruck, Lehrdahl and the centennial commissions.

For more information and background, go to: https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/pro-arte-quartet-beethoven-string-quartet-cycle-program-iv/

For more about the challenges and modifications – including wearing masks and social distancing — of doing the Beethoven cycle for the virtual online performances and about the other dates and programs in the cycle, go to: https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/classical-music-uw-madisons-pro-arte-quartet-to-resume-its-free-beethoven-cycle-virtual-and-online-this-friday-night-with-two-other-programs-this-semester/

 


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Classical music: The annual National Summer Cello Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music will hold a FREE memorial concert for Janos Starker this Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m.

June 5, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Do you speak cello? A great way to start is by attending a FREE concert on Sunday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall on the UW-Madison campus.

The purpose of the concert is to memorialize and honor the career of famed Hungarian-born cellist Janos Starker (below), who emigrated to the U.S. after World War II and taught at Indiana University. Starker, a survivor of the Holocaust renowned for his performing and teaching as well as his love of fine scotch and too many cigarettes, died last month at 88.

As you might expect there will be some solo Bach, duos by Bartok, trios by David Popper and lots of other solo and ensemble cello music including a cello choir of 12 cellists.

janos starker 1

The FREE concert, part of the yearly National Summer Cello Institute for professional cellists (below, in Mills Hall) at the UW-Madison, will take place in Mills Hall on this Sunday June 9, at 8 p.m. Guest artists, including the cellist of the Orion String Quartet, will also perform. (By contrast, the similarly named National Cello Institute is for young people, not professionals.)

national summer cello Institute 1

The concert has been organized by Uri Vardi (below), a professor of cello at the UW-Madison, who studied with Starker from 1972 to 1975.

Vardi

For more details, here is a link to the excellent and comprehensive story on “Fanfare,” the new blog at the UW School of Music:

http://uwmadisonschoolofmusic.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/remembering-janos-starker-memorial-concert-sunday-june-9-mills-hall/

And for more information about Janos Starker, here is a link to the obituary story, with links to other remembrances and obituaries, that The Ear posted on this blog:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/classical-music-cellist-janos-starker-master-teacher-and-master-performer-is-dead-at-88-listen-to-how-deep-and-moving-yet-also-austere-his-bach-is/

And here is a link to a YouTube video of Janos Starker himself playing Gabriel Faure‘s exquisite “Elegie,” which has been posted as a tribute to Starker:


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